Anthony is the oldest Bridgerton and therefore the Bridgerton most traumatized by his father's untimely death due to a bee sting. This plays an unexpectedly large, touching, and also sort of hilarious role in his quest to find a wife. He thinks he's also going to die young, so he's determined to marry someone he doesn't love. You can imagine how badly that goes for him over the course of this romance novel.
Anthony first sets his sights on Edwina, but things take a turn with her older sister, Kate, who happens to hate him. This played out somewhat similarly as it did in the book, creating a very fun ride.
The seeds of this story have already been sewn into the show, and it feels like it's going to be good. Romancing Mister Bridgerton tells the story of Colin Bridgerton, who thinks of Penelope Featherington as a good friend, and Penelope, who is desperately in love with Colin. He eventually realizes that she's more than a good friend, but it takes half a book and a Lady Whistledown reveal for it to happen.
The viewers already know that Penelope is secretly Lady Whistledown, but in the books, no one knows (not even the reader) until Colin discovers it. Colin has some growing up to do (and some character developing to do) before this story plays out, but assuming Penelope's secret can be kept until the right time, this could be a very satisfying romance indeed.
Hyacinth is too young on screen right now to tell, but she might be the best character in the whole series. The youngest Bridgerton is smart, funny, stubborn and wildly adventurous, as seen in her romance with Gareth St. Clair. His father hates him, but there are mysterious jewels apparently hidden in his family home that Gareth and Hyacinth (mostly Hyacinth) are determined to find. As they search, they fall in love, obviously.
This story feels like a bit of a departure from some of the other romances, as it involves a lot of late night sneaking and sometimes Hyacinth (gasp!) wears pants, but it's lots of fun and will certainly be fun to watch if the show actually has time to get there. Currently, Hyacinth is 10.
Gregory, the youngest male Bridgerton and second youngest Bridgerton overall, is a bit of a mess, but he decides he's deeply in love when he first sees Hermione Watson. Unfortunately, she's in love with somebody else, but she's got a nice friend named Lucy, who turns out to be better anyway. Unfortunately, Lucy is already engaged to someone else, so Gregory has to stop a wedding.
There's a lot going on here, but the ending has a whole lot of exciting TV potential. There are guns, there's a sort of hostage situation, and there's even a near death in the epilogue. It's gonna be fun, though once again, unclear if there will even be time to get to Gregory.
Francesca is a bit of an enigma in the Bridgerton family because she's often mentioned but rarely actually present until her own book. She was away at school, and then she got married early on with little fanfare to an earl who she loved dearly, and then she moved away to Scotland. A couple of years into her marriage, her husband dies, and her best friend and husband's cousin Michael, who has always been in love with her, becomes the new earl.
Francesca and Michael's romance might be the most intense and definitely the...steamiest...of all the Bridgertons, and it's certainly a fun read. However, in order to make this season any good, we're going to have to start caring about Francesca long before it's time to tell the story of this romance.
In the books, Eloise is sort of furious at her best friend Penelope for suddenly getting married, and she begins a pen pal love affair with a man named Phillip. Phillip has just lost his wife (Eloise's cousin, Marina), who suffered from a horrible depression, and he and Eloise begin writing to each other.
Eloise is one of the series' best characters, and there's some good stuff to be found here as she goes to stay at his country house and meet his two badly behaved children, but the show might be taking this story in a different direction. On screen, Marina is a Featherington cousin who is devastated to find out that the man she loves has died in battle. Phillip is the one who arrives to tell Marina this news, and offers to marry her instead. At the end of season one, we saw them riding off in a carriage together. And in season two, as she tells Colin, Marina is content in her decision to marry Phillip.
So, it's not clear what the plan is for Eloise. It could stay the same, since Eloise is currently 17 and doesn't get married until she's 28. But that's a dark future for Marina that we're not sure we're into.
Benedict, an artist, saves a housemaid named Sophie from sexual assault at a party by bringing her home to work for the Bridgertons, and then gets awfully confused when he falls in love with her. What he doesn't realize is that she's actually the illegitimate daughter of an earl and has been mistreated by her evil stepmother, so she's not actually just a servant. It's weird Cinderella.
Benedict and Sophie's love story is not bad, but it is sort of uncomfortable at times. Sophie spends a lot of time being like, "I'm just a maid but also not just a maid!" and Benedict spends a lot of time trying to convince her to be his mistress, because she's just a maid. So far on screen, Benedict has been attending orgies, learning about secret gay relationships and working on his artistic talents, which hopefully means there's something a little more interesting planned for him on the show.
Obviously this season has already aired and we've all already fallen deeply in love with Regé-Jean Page as the Duke, but had you asked us before we saw that man's face, we would have said this book was towards the bottom of the list. It's a great intro to the family, but we will never not be weirded out by the way Daphne tries to con her husband into giving her children while he takes advantage of her lack of sexual education. None of the other books get quite that murky with biology and consent, so if you didn't like that part of the first season, you shouldn't have to worry about the rest of the series.